Staten's posterizing slam fueled the fire. Before it was over, Henderson was collecting a season-high 19 points and freshman Nathan Adrian was hitting shot-clock-beating and fall-away 3s on his way to 16 points.
Huggins, though, fairly dismissed those contributions in favor of another. It came from oft-forgotten junior Kevin Noreen, who would finish the game with just three points and six rebounds.
That's because in the early going, back when William & Mary (6-5) was scoring almost at will inside behind lumbering Tim Rusthoven and taking that 6-2 lead and remaining tied at 8, it was Noreen who ultimately disrupted the Tribe. With WVU's two freshmen inside players hobbled — Devin Williams had back pain after squeezing his 6-9 frame into a Greyhound bus to return home from Christmas break and Brandon Watkins was with puffed lips and without two teeth after a practice mishap — Noreen stepped in to deny William & Mary its offensive flow.
"You kind of know what bothers the Princeton offense and we didn't do anything to bother it to start the game,'' Huggins said. "Kevin Noreen finally started keeping the ball out of where they wanted it.''
And once that happened the game was essentially over. The Mountaineers turned that 8-8 tie into leads of 23-8 and 37-16 in the first half, doubled the score late at 72-36 and eventually at 80-40 and finished in cruise control. William & Mary's usually-precise offense was all over the map, shooting just 25.5 percent.
The bottom line, though, is that the win was still just another that the Mountaineers were supposed to get. That it came against the highest RPI-rated team WVU has beaten this season matters little because the Tribe still wasn't even in the Top 200.
With the end of non-conference play, though, the schedule now gets more difficult. This weekend brings a two-game road trip to TCU and Texas Tech on Saturday and Monday, followed by a visit from No. 7 Oklahoma State a week later. That's the beginning of an 18-game league schedule in a conference, the Big 12, that is currently No. 1 in the RPI.
If nothing else, though, the lopsided win can't hurt WVU's confidence.
"It's hard to tell [how well they played] because of the level of the competition. We've played some good games before this,'' Staten said. "But it's definitely a confidence builder.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1